Objective: The pathophysiology of preeclampsia is not fully understood. Disturbances in the contact system are associated with preeclampsia. Few studies have investigated the association between preeclampsia and alterations in the contact system in plasma. This study aims to elucidate whether this basic biological system is affected in preeclampsia using new methods focusing on the dynamic interactions and total capacity of the contact system in blood.
Design: Cross-sectional study matching women with preeclampsia and controls without preeclampsia regarding age, pregestational body mass index, and gestational age at onset of the disease.
Setting: Two Danish University hospitals.
Sample: A cohort of 117 women with preeclampsia and 117 controls.
Methods: The turnover and capacity of the contact system were determined with new methods. Paired t-test, Wilcoxon signed-pairs signed rank test, Mann-Whitney or Chi2-test were applied, as appropriate.
Main Outcome Measurements: Kallikrein generation (peak kallikrein concentration and endogenous kallikrein potential), coagulation factor XII, prekallikrein, H-kininogen, cleaved H-kininogen, and complement C1 esterase inhibitor.
Results: The endogenous kallikrein potential, peak kallikrein concentration, prekallikrein and cleaved H-kininogen were significantly lower in women with preeclampsia compared to the controls, p ≤ 0.005, whereas the concentration of coagulation factor XII, H-kininogen and complement C1 esterase inhibitor was not significantly different, p > 0.05.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates significant reduction in kallikrein generating capacity, prekallikrein and cleaved H-kininogen indicating that the contact system is affected in preeclampsia suggesting a link to the pathophysiology of the disease.